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9 hours ago, Cheese said:

 If the marginal cost is £300 for a week's hire, it is better to hire out the boat for £301 for that week than leave it in the yard earning nothing.

 

No.

It would be better to do something else that makes money.

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6 hours ago, jradley said:

Yes. Which makes me wonder why more people aren't prepared to pay whatever is needed to make it viable to hire out at quieter times of the year. I can only think of two reasons, one being demographic of the typical hirer - is it family with kids who can only holiday in school holidays ? - I don't know. The other is perception of what a narrow boat can offer in terms of comfort. I think to people who don't know they are perceived as tents that float. I like camping but mid September is my cut-off time. Until I started looking into hiring I didn't know narrow boats these days came with central heating for example. How stupid does that make me feel !! Also, there is a mis-understanding of what canal cruising involves. I know my in-laws would love a canal holiday, but when we told them we were doing one their response was "don't you have to have a license" and "we could never drive a boat like that". I think if the hire companies want to be busier then somehow they have to overcome the perception problems, but of course are way too small to afford massive marketing campaigns, so realistically much of their customer base is people who already understand canal cruising or families in the summer.

 

As you say, if they were busier year-round then so would be the canals themselves, and therein lies a whole other problem

 

Surely one company at least his doing this by ensuring their boats appear alongside Tim & Pru in "Great Canal Journeys" and "Celebrity 5 Go Barging"?

 

These programmes are designed to show those unfamiliar with the canals how beautiful they are and how easy to handle (after a bit of white knuckle practice) and comfortable they are. 

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On 23/07/2019 at 18:08, Chris Williams said:

Nowadays hirers expect showers, wi-fi, tellys and all the other 'essential' things.  Of course it is expensive, compared to the very basic boats that were for hire way back.  12 kids in an old coal boat, with Army double bunks, a cooker, a bucket and not much else - they loved it.

Not necessarily - some might, but not all. I'd rather have a cheap basic boat 'that does what it says on the tin' rather than an all-bells-and-whistles floating cottage. We've been hiring annually since 1992 and invariably used to ask that the TV be taken off the boat because we knew we would not use it and it would save it getting damaged or stolen. We've only ever used a boat shower twice since 1992 - both times because we had an unexpected total immersion incident, though we do use the shower cubicle for hanging wet coats in. We've had modern boats with wi-fi that never seemed to work properly and a boat with a macerator toilet which packed up and could not be fixed. Having 240V in every cabin is nice but not essential and we could manage without it, though I imagine it would be akin to the end of the world if some folks couldn't keep their phones charged 24/7...

You can follow our trips at thebonaboaters below...

 

Edited by Pete of Ebor

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5 hours ago, Pete of Ebor said:

Not necessarily - some might, but not all. I'd rather have a cheap basic boat 'that does what it says on the tin' rather than an all-bells-and-whistles floating cottage.

One wonders whether the hirers asked for all these 'luxurys', or did the hire firms offer more and more to bring in the Punters. 

I suspect the latter.    Many hirers wanted a 'get away from it all' holiday.

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6 hours ago, Pete of Ebor said:

Having 240V in every cabin is nice but not essential and we could manage without it, though I imagine it would be akin to the end of the world if some folks couldn't keep their phones charged 24/7...

 

 240V is nor required to charge a phone.

A USB socket in DC or a USB adapter plugged into 12V DC works well.

7 hours ago, Pete of Ebor said:

We've only ever used a boat shower twice since 1992 - both times because we had an unexpected total immersion incident, though we do use the shower cubicle for hanging wet coats in. 

 

Not sure why you would only have taken a shower twice since 1992 but that's your choice. ?

 

 

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On 23/07/2019 at 09:22, kawaton said:

If 6 of you go to Barcelona the price goes up.   The cost of the narrowboat hire doesn't.

We are hiring a boat for 10 days next week for £1000 less than what we are paying to go to Majorca for a week in mid August.

 

PS, im still here :)

 

How was the holiday?

 

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I have been hiring for over ten years, because I have not been in the financial position to buy, however one of the nice things of this is I have had many wounderful holidays with family and friends who share the costs. Sharing a boat with people really does pull people together, (dispite of late some on the cut dispise hireboaters)

 

Share with family, friends, person in the pub your talking too (future friends) this will bring down the cost to an aceptable level and will open up a new experience in holidays.

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1 hour ago, AWETHEAYET said:

I have been hiring for over ten years, because I have not been in the financial position to buy, however one of the nice things of this is I have had many wounderful holidays with family and friends who share the costs. Sharing a boat with people really does pull people together, (dispite of late some on the cut dispise hireboaters)

I love seeing a hire boat when I am coming towards locks, generally lots of crew, I can help them learn and speed progress for both boats.

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1 minute ago, matty40s said:

I love seeing a hire boat when I am coming towards locks, generally lots of crew, I can help them learn and speed progress for both boats.

Aw love thi, you are the nice people us hirers meet, some of us don't need help, but lots do and your education is going to keep people and property safe for years to come,, thank you.

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What would you charge to give a £100,000 boat to total strangers, have to insure it, licence it, care for it, clean it, maintain it, paint it and only be able to get 12 to 14 weeks hire if you are lucky?

 

Then there is all the expenses of running the company, staff, insurance, maternity leave, advertising etc. etc.  It all adds up and has to be funded somehow.

Edited by Boater Sam

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If it was at all easy to make money out of running hire boats, the number of hire fleets/bases would be increasing rapidly.  It isn't.  

N

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2 hours ago, Boater Sam said:

What would you charge to give a £100,000 boat to total strangers, have to insure it, licence it, care for it, clean it, maintain it, paint it and only be able to get 12 to 14 weeks hire if you are lucky?

 

Then there is all the expenses of running the company, staff, insurance, maternity leave, advertising etc. etc.  It all adds up and has to be funded somehow.

But those costs are funded by peak prices, otherwise the boat is sold and business closed. Then any hire out of peak has to be profitable at a couple hundred to cover cleaning repairs incurred. I guess the boat owned hates seeing them tied up. I have met couples who have had a 6 berth boat for a week for 500 quid, they rang boat yard on Thursday, took boat on Saturday. You won't get those deals through a booking site you need to speak to the owner.

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Just for the sake of it, let's split that £500 down:

 

-£100 straight to the VAT man (unless you are a very small operation)

-£60 fuel (if diesel heated, more if gas). Granted, few operated fuel inclusive these days.

-£60 cleaning (inside and out) and laundry

-£70 servicing (pump out, engine checks, internal checks)

-£70 handover/office admin/credit card fee

-£30 for someone to cover out of hours call out (assuming only one boat out per week in the winter).

 

Assuming no booking fee/commission that leaves less than £100 before wear and tear (higher in the winter), breakages etc. One phone call "The steering's broken - no we definitely haven't hit anything, we're below the lock and it's just stopped working....) just as it's getting dark on Sunday afternoon and you're heavily into the red. Talking of red, fuel theft is more likely in the winter too. I suspect it's only a matter of time before a set of batteries goes walkies while the customer is in the pub.

 

Experience says that on average you'll lose less money leaving them tied up than hiring out at that sort of price unless you know the customer, and that the people engaged in providing the services listed above would be more profitably employed on other jobs - assuming the operator also offers boatyard services.

 

That's not to say that we don't ever offer that sort of deal, but we probably shouldn't in the accountant's eyes. However, if it were just about the money we wouldn't be doing it.

 

 

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15 minutes ago, Rose Narrowboats said:

Just for the sake of it, let's split that £500 down:

 

-£100 straight to the VAT man (unless you are a very small operation)

-£60 fuel (if diesel heated, more if gas). Granted, few operated fuel inclusive these days.

-£60 cleaning (inside and out) and laundry

-£70 servicing (pump out, engine checks, internal checks)

-£70 handover/office admin/credit card fee

-£30 for someone to cover out of hours call out (assuming only one boat out per week in the winter).

 

Assuming no booking fee/commission that leaves less than £100 before wear and tear (higher in the winter), breakages etc. One phone call "The steering's broken - no we definitely haven't hit anything, we're below the lock and it's just stopped working....) just as it's getting dark on Sunday afternoon and you're heavily into the red. Talking of red, fuel theft is more likely in the winter too. I suspect it's only a matter of time before a set of batteries goes walkies while the customer is in the pub.

 

Experience says that on average you'll lose less money leaving them tied up than hiring out at that sort of price unless you know the customer, and that the people engaged in providing the services listed above would be more profitably employed on other jobs - assuming the operator also offers boatyard services.

 

That's not to say that we don't ever offer that sort of deal, but we probably shouldn't in the accountant's eyes. However, if it were just about the money we wouldn't be doing it.

 

 

 

Totally understand your point but can't help but nit-pick your arithmetic on the VAT line.

 

£83.33 to the VATman innit!

 

£416.67 x 20% = £83.33. 

 

£416.67 + £83.33 = £500.00

 

 

 

 

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10 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

Totally understand your point but can't help but nit-pick your arithmetic on the VAT line.

 

£83.33 to the VATman innit!

 

£416.67 x 20% = £83.33. 

 

£416.67 + £83.33 = £500.00

 

 

 

 

It's late and I haven't got a calculator to hand....

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No one is suggesting operators should set prices for a loss.  But for 7 days hire for 2 people, starting in say a week's time, some companies are probably still quoting over £1000, once fuel etc is included.  At that sort of price, for January, there probably won'tbe any takers.  There has got to be a point somewhere between £500 and £1000 that is both profitable for the operator and attractive for someone looking for a late availability holiday.

 

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1 hour ago, Rose Narrowboats said:

However, if it were just about the money we wouldn't be doing it.

Well if you insist on having Tawny Owl in the fleet ... 

 

That's  probably where the extra £17 goes :D

 

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9 minutes ago, Cheese said:

No one is suggesting operators should set prices for a loss.  But for 7 days hire for 2 people, starting in say a week's time, some companies are probably still quoting over £1000, once fuel etc is included.  At that sort of price, for January, there probably won'tbe any takers.  There has got to be a point somewhere between £500 and £1000 that is both profitable for the operator and attractive for someone looking for a late availability holiday.

 

In my experience it's £1000 for the boat for the week, generally a 4 or 6 berth boat, maybe up to an 8 or 12 berth.

 

If you split 4, 8 or 12 ways it's a lot less per person than if you want exclusive use for two of you.

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13 hours ago, Rose Narrowboats said:

Just for the sake of it, let's split that £500 down:

 

-£100 straight to the VAT man (unless you are a very small operation)

-£60 fuel (if diesel heated, more if gas). Granted, few operated fuel inclusive these days.

-£60 cleaning (inside and out) and laundry

-£70 servicing (pump out, engine checks, internal checks)

-£70 handover/office admin/credit card fee

-£30 for someone to cover out of hours call out (assuming only one boat out per week in the winter).

 

Assuming no booking fee/commission that leaves less than £100 before wear and tear (higher in the winter), breakages etc. One phone call "The steering's broken - no we definitely haven't hit anything, we're below the lock and it's just stopped working....) just as it's getting dark on Sunday afternoon and you're heavily into the red. Talking of red, fuel theft is more likely in the winter too. I suspect it's only a matter of time before a set of batteries goes walkies while the customer is in the pub.

 

Experience says that on average you'll lose less money leaving them tied up than hiring out at that sort of price unless you know the customer, and that the people engaged in providing the services listed above would be more profitably employed on other jobs - assuming the operator also offers boatyard services.

 

That's not to say that we don't ever offer that sort of deal, but we probably shouldn't in the accountant's eyes. However, if it were just about the money we wouldn't be doing it.

 

 

Dont waste you time. I lost count over the years in my pubs or caffs when I sold an item for four quid and was told they could buy it for a pound in Aldi :banghead:  I found over the years that on nearly every occasion this came from some salaried bod working part time about forty hours a week on a good salary.

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Agreed.  But from the operator's perspective, once the boat is on the books it doesn't cost much more to service an 8-berth than a 4-berth.  Mainly a bit more diesel and gas.  Provided the hire charge is set at a level that gives a profit, then any hire ought be be better than no hire.  I accept that larger bases won't staff up over the winter, so if they need to get people in for a single hire request it might not be worth handling.  But for smaller family operators, surely getting the boats out more often via more flexible pricing would be worthwhile?

 

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28 minutes ago, Cheese said:

once the boat is on the books it doesn't cost much more to service an 8-berth than a 4-berth.

 

Twice as much laundry...

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You don't see many Ferrari's, top end Range Rovers, or other very expensive cars in the staff parking spots at hire bases. Suggests that the hire prices aren't that excessive, given the business costs.

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